Body of Japanese girl found in snow reveals history of bullying, though principal denies it

School principal appears to be laying the blame on the 12-year-old girl and her family environment.

On 13 February, second-year junior high school student Saaya Hirose disappeared from her house in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, at around 6 p.m. when temperatures were minus 17 degrees Celsius (one degree Fahrenheit).

Police began a public investigation and family, friends and volunteers searched for over a month for the 14-year-old, whose body was eventually discovered in a snow-covered park on 23 March. An autopsy deemed hypothermia to be the cause of death, and experts say it’s likely Hirose had succumbed to the cold on the day of her disappearance, with the body only being found once the snow began to melt.

▼ Hokkaido is one of Japan’s snowiest regions, receiving an average of 3.83 meters (12.56 feet) of snow each year.

As investigators attempted to piece together the reasons why Hirose had gone to the park on a freezing night, disturbing details of bullying came to light. Weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun received permission from Hirose’s mother to publish her daughter’s real name and report on the details to share her daughter’s plight, and the extent of what the young teenager had to endure has shocked everyone around the nation.

According to Shukan Bunshun’s report, Hirose’s mother first noticed a change in her daughter’s character when she entered junior high school in April 2019. Very few students from Hirose’s elementary school entered this school, which made it hard for her to adjust.

In mid-April, Hirose became acquainted with a student at the school, two years her senior, while at a children’s park nearby, where Hirose would often study or read in the time between the end of school and the start …continue reading